The Great Indian Kitchen

An extremely well made and realistic film that that revolves around a newly-wed woman and her “cultured” and orthodox household. It makes a scathing attack on patriarchy, misogyny and undue gender entitlements without getting preachy.

Writer/Director – Jeo Baby

Cast – Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu

Plot 

A young educated bubbly girl from a “prosperous” family gets married into a “prestigious” and “cultural” family with lots of gold & and a car in dowry. The shy and sweet girl adapts and fits into the mould of a perfect housewife… cutting, chopping, cooking, serving, cleaning and mopping away to glory and acceding to all demands.

But the sickening patriarchy, undue gender entitlements and putrid misogyny takes the sheen off the marital bliss and she soon sees her place not only in the household but also her personal life with her husband.

Analysis

The first thing that impressed me were the realistic look and feel of the film; so real that it hardly seemed a film at times. Everything right from the location, sets, costumes, make up, setting of each scene is something to savour and soak in. The well-used utensils, containers, the dirty over flowing kitchen sink, the dustbin, the leftovers, everything adds value to this realism.

Right from the first scene, it gives you a feel of a food film. The delicacies, elaborate cooking procedures and the tempering that is so much a part of all India Kitchens adds zing.

But gradually with its intended repetitiveness the film makes you feel as uneasy as the protagonist. The same dishes and cooking which looked great initially starts looking jaded.

I felt embarrassed and sad about our obsession with freshly cooked food, boiled rice, hand ground chutneys, hot dosas and chapatis.

The casual and confident patriarchy made me feel heavy hearted. The pathetic status of the wife even in the bedroom was searing.

The film makes you go through a plethora of emotions. I felt uneasy for the women in present times who live a claustrophobic and unhappy life… and at the same time, blessed that times have changed for many of us!

It also made me feel not-so-proud of our elaborate cuisines, obsession with food & cooking rigmaroles, especially considering the undue gender entitlements.

The performances by the leads are great.

I was mightily impressed with Nimisha. She is as real as one can be. Her shyness, subtle expressions and gestures ,enthusiasm to adapt and please everyone and gradual disillusionment, the entire transformation is worth applaud.

Recommendation

The film makes a well meant scathing attack on the system that conditions a women right from the childhood to fit into the mould, all in the name of culture and caring.

The best part is the film makes no effort to get preachy. Just shows you a mirror with an image so realistic and so harsh that it hurts.

The film is not only a must watch as a well made piece of art but a compulsory watch for the relevant point it makes.

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